Tag Archives: Benedict Okey Oramah

Zimbabwe’s “Bondnotes” crisis: The questions that now need to be taken to Afreximbank and Aliko Dangote’s doors

13 Oct

Date: 13/10/2016

To: Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah (https://afreximbank.com/dr-benedict-okey-oramah-president/): President: African Export – Import Bank (Afreximbank) 72 (B) El-Maahad El-Eshteraky Street – Heliopolis, Cairo 11341, Egypt

Re: Request for information on the Afreximbank $200 million loan offered to Zimbabwe and subsequent cancellation

The above matter refers.

Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Zimbabweans deeply concerned about your recent dealings with the Government of Zimbabwe led by one President Robert Mugabe. We write to you in peace and we would like you and your institution to lend us an attentive ear. Our apologies if any of our language might seem disparaging. Be assured Sir, that we do not intend to do so. Anyway, we will get into the details of the reasons we are writing you.

Firstly, we are informed through feedback meetings held with ourselves and the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Governor, Dr. John Panonetsa Mangudya as well as other public pronouncements by the Zimbabwe Minister of Finance, Mr. Patrick Chinamasa that you have agreed to loan the Zimbabwean government USD$200 million. The details of the loan arrangements remain hidden and classified but we are told that the money will be used to secure an equal value of 200 million so called Bondnotes that will effectively become the new trading currency in Zimbabwe.

Secondly, we would like to note that we have asked the Zimbabwe government on several occasions through letters, public meetings, and social media and in person but we have failed to get any satisfactory answers about the conditions of this loan. Instead we have been told that the information is confidential and will be treated as such between yourselves and the Government of Zimbabwe. If you go onto your Afreximbank twitter account, or generally on twitter you will notice how your bank has become so (un)popular in Zimbabwe and internationally because of this USD $200 million loan to Zimbabwe. Several Zimbabweans have written to your bank on social media and they have not received any responses from yourselves. Fair and fine, you and the Government of Zimbabwe might refuse to respond but we would like to set a few issues clear with your bank before your bank relaxes and believes that all is well with regards this loan to ZimbabweWe are of the view that your bank has misdirected itself and gone against its Mission Statement and rather is abusing the “profit oriented” approach to its business and utterly disregarded the “socially responsible financial investment institution” that you describe yourselves as by awarding this loan to the Zimbabwe government. It is in our humble view irresponsible of Afreximbank knowing fully well and having seen on international media the resistance to the said Bond Notes that you continue to be quiet and not respond to Zimbabweans’ concerns. We are now of the firm view that your bank is only interested in profit making and will do so at any cost. However, we the people of Zimbabwe refuse that position and are making it clear to you now!

We would like to warn you that you are entering into a bad investment deal by lending this current Zimbabwe government such an amount of money. You can be rest assured that we will not be sitting idle while our country is auctioned away by this government and allow this our generation and our children to be saddled with President Mugabe’s ill- informed debts funded by institutions like yours. We are Zimbabweans and we know what we are talking about! You can save us the trouble of trying to explain any legal niceties about international treaties and so on. We are fully aware of the implications. However, we would like to warn you that we will when the times comes, scrutinize each and every loan that this government has borrowed in the last 5 years with Afreximbank. If indeed we will find any loans ill – gotten and not having been used wisely we will certainly refuse and recommend that any new Zimbabwe government to dishonor such loans.

Your bank and its shareholders cannot purport not to know the socio – political and economic situation in Zimbabwe at the present moment. Definitely, your regional office based at Eastgate Mall in Harare must have briefed you and continues to do so on the state of affairs in Zimbabwe. We are of the firm belief that Afreximbank and its shareholders are acting in no less than criminal and exploitative ways to get Zimbabwe hooked onto bad loans in the name of assisting the Government.

In addition and to our dismay, we are fully aware that some of your shareholders and Aliko Dangote in particular who we greatly respect as a progressive African brother and father is also unwittingly trying to benefit from this sorry situation unethically. We know that Mr. Dangote acquired a substantial amount of shareholding on 30 May 2016 in Afreximbank and thus has keen interests in how the bank performs. As you and ourselves know Mr. Dangote has to make investments all over Africa and he has been making these overtures in Zimbabwe as well. Is it a coincidence as well that at the same time that he is making inroads with his Dangote Group in Zimbabwe your bank is also making unbridled offers to bail out the Zimbabwe government financially. Could it be that, your Afreximbank or even Mr. Dangote himself is preparing a red carpet for his businesses in Zimbabwe by giving the economy a false sense of liquidity? Unfortunately, we will give you free advice and note that your bank is making or might have already made a wrong move that will cost you dearly by giving Zimbabwe this loan.

Mr. Oramah Sir, you might wonder and be less amused by this letter and our actions. However, we have to let you know that we cannot allow anymore this country, this Zimbabwe, the land of our forefathers, our fathers, ours and our future children to be continuously run down by unwise decisions which border on criminality, senselessness and pure selfishness. This means therefore that we have to guard our country from such bad decisions and deals as the ones the Government of Zimbabwe is making with your bank now. We respectfully ask you to reconsider and immediately halt any financial assistance to the current Zimbabwe Government until us as Zimbabweans have sorted out our internal problems. We believe strongly that by your continued purported efforts to assist this government you are indirectly funding our misery, torture and desecration of our country by the current Government of Zimbabwe.

Our demands are quite simple and very clear. Afreximbank must be accountable to the peoples of Africa where the bank invests. In this case it is the people of Zimbabwe. We have rights and freedoms to access information on deals conducted by our government and external parties. Zimbabwe has serious problems with freedoms of expression and access to government information. Your bank cannot be found to be aiding and abetting such manipulation of peoples’ right. Your bank cannot purport to be oblivious of a situation as is obtaining in Zimbabwe and continue to hold your bank in high esteem. We need information from Afreximbank on what kind of deal you have reached with the Government of Zimbabwe. In addition, we need to know what the interest rates are, how long the loan will be for and other related information. Furthermore, we implore you to do the right thing and withdraw this USD $200 million from your client – The Government of Zimbabwe. The purpose for which they have asked the money is not in sync with what the Zimbabwean people want. It is more destructive and will take our country back to the days of strife and hunger that was marked by hyperinflation running into millions. The Bondnotes are just another back door way of the Zimbabwe government to reintroduce the local currency. We do not necessarily have any problems in having our own currency but you must understand as a financial person that the current situation in Zimbabwe does not allow that.

We will be waiting to hear from you and your bank Sir. In the event that we do not hear from yourselves in reasonable time which we will allow at two weeks from the date of this letter, we the people of Zimbabwe will definitely be calling on your offices in Harare; Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi and Abidjan to demand a response by any means necessary.

Sincerely

We the people of Zimbabwe.

Ends://

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